Cam Newton might be the most surprising quarterback early in the 2020-21 season, and his contract remains one of the biggest steals in the NFL.
Newton signed a one-year, $1.75 million deal with the New England Patriots prior to the season. The contract seemed cheap on the surface, but no other team wanted the former MVP, and he’s dealt with a multitude of injuries over the last few years.
Despite the question marks surrounding him, Newton has been a revelation through two games in New England. Newton might even be an upgrade from Tom Brady last year, but he’ll somehow make less guaranteed money than Nathan Peterman this season.
Cam Newton has exceeded expectations so far this season
Newton was maybe the most highly anticipated player to watch entering the 2020-21 NFL season. He won the NFL MVP award and led the Carolina Panthers to the Super Bowl just five years ago, but an injury-riddled half-decade has seen Newton fall off from the elite tier of quarterbacks.
After getting cut by the Panthers in the offseason, it seemed as if no team wanted to touch Newton before the season. Then, the Patriots came calling.
New England gave Newton a one-year deal worth a measly $1.75 million. The contract included just $550,000 in guaranteed money, but the included incentives will allow Newton to earn much more if he plays well this season.
Through two games this year, Newton has thrown for 552 yards and a touchdown on 71.4% passing, which would be a career-high. He’s also recorded 122 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. Newton nearly led the Patriots to a miraculous comeback against the Seahawks in Week 2, but he was stopped on the goal line as time expired.
Still, Newton has far exceeded anyone’s expectations so far this year, and he’s now vastly underpaid.
Nathan Peterman is due more guaranteed money than Newton this season
Remember our good friend, Nathan Peterman? You know, the QB who threw five interceptions in the first half of his first career NFL start? Not many football fans thought they’d see Peterman on an NFL field again, but he’s still hanging around in the league.
Peterman is a backup QB for the Oakland Raiders this season. He signed a one-year, $2.13 million contract in the offseason to sit behind Derek Carr. Amazingly, he’s due $1 million in guaranteed money this season even though he probably won’t throw a single pass.
Meanwhile, Newton, who has a legitimate path to another MVP award if he keeps playing like this, is due just $550,000 in guaranteed money. Wait, what?
Newton can still earn up to $7.5 million this season
It’s early in the 2020-21 season, but Newton’s one-year contract already looks like the most team-friendly contract in the entire league. Newton seems to have recaptured the magic from his MVP season in 2015, and all he needed was Bill Belichick to help him get there.
Looking closer at his deal, Newton can make up to $7.5 million this season if everything goes right. The contract has multiple incentives and roster bonuses baked into it that allows Newton to earn more the better he plays.
For now, though, Newton is due less money than Nathan Peterman and numerous other backup QBs. Bravo, Mr. Belichick. Bravo.
All financial data courtesy of Spotrac